Mastectomy: Instructions Before Surgery
The following information will help you prepare for your upcoming surgery. We hope this information may help to make this experience more comfortable for you. If you have any questions regarding the instructions, please contact the Breast Care Center staff.
- You will need to have a responsible adult to drive you home. You will generally stay overnight in the hospital after your mastectomy. You may stay longer if it is medically necessary. It is unsafe and against hospital policy to permit you to drive home after surgery when you have received any medication that might slow your responses, such as anesthesia, pain medication or any medication to relieve anxiety.
- Do not eat or drink anything after midnight on the night before your surgery. Any medications that you take routinely should be taken at the usual time with a sip or two of water. People with diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses should contact their primary care doctor for directions. Inform us if you are taking Coumadin or other blood thinning medication.
- Do not take aspirin or aspirin-containing products for 10 days before your surgery. Tylenol is okay. Also, stop taking vitamin E supplements two weeks before your surgery or as soon as possible, although vitamin E in a multivitamin is OK.
- Wear comfortable clothing. A two-piece, loose fitting outfit with a zipper or buttons is comfortable and really easy to put on. Some women prefer a loose dress with a zipper or buttons in front. Please bring it with you.
What to Bring to the Hospital
Recommended items to bring with you to stay in the hospital include:
- Personal items, such as a toothbrush, toiletries, pillow, earplugs
- Slippers and extra socks
- Music player and headphones as well as your favorite music, books on tape, etc.
- Bathrobe that opens in the front, a sweater with buttons or a zipper
- Light reading
- List of important telephone numbers
Also, do not bring valuables with you to the hospital, or give them to family and friends.
If you have not chosen immediate reconstruction we will give you information about a temporary breast form/softee. If you have chosen reconstruction, consult the specific information given to you by your nurse.
UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.
Basic Facts About Breast Health
Learn basic facts about breast structure and function and how to differentiate between the different types and stages of breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Glossary
Check out our comprehensive Glossary of Breast Cancer terminology, which includes definitions of everything from AC chemotherapy to peripheral neuropathy.
Breast Cancer Risk Factors
Click now to find a summary of the factors that increase risk for developing breast cancer, including both factors that we cannot change and those we can.
Self-Care and Recovery
Self-Care and recovery resources including an Introduction to Lifestyle Change, Nutrition and Breast Cancer, Hydration: Water and Health, Meditation and more.
Breast reconstruction, surgery to rebuild a breast's shape, is often an option after mastectomy and is covered by some health insurance plans. Learn more now.
Follow-Up Care for Breast Cancer Patients
After patients have completed treatment for early stage breast cancer, one of the common questions is, "How should I best be monitored?" Learn more here.
Mastectomy: Instructions After Surgery
Post Mastectomy surgery instructions including, pain management, incision and dressing care, activity, diet, follow-up care and more.
Menopause and Breast Cancer
Breast cancer treatment often causes women to enter menopause prematurely. Although each woman reacts to therapy individually, certain side effects are common.
Metastatic Breast Cancer: Diagnosis and Treatment
Metastatic breast cancer is cancer that originated in the breast and has spread to other organ systems in the body. Learn more here.
Navigating Your Path to Breast Care
Different services and information are needed at different points in breast health care and breast cancer treatment. Learn more here.
Osteoporosis and Breast Cancer
Women who have had breast cancer or are considered at high risk for developing breast cancer are at risk for developing osteoporosis. Learn more.
Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer
The UCSF Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center and the Department of Radiation Oncology have compiled information about radiation therapy for your convenience.
Knowledge may lead you to take action to protect your health and that of other women you care about: your mother, daughters, relatives and friends. Learn more.